The Organs at HPPC


The Sanctuary Organ was built in 1983 by Casavant Frères Limited of Quebec. It was refurbished and enhanced in 2010. This four-manual, 92-rank organ leads in nearly 200 worship services and concerts throughout the year.

Seventy-seven ranks of pipes occupy space at the front of the Chancel and fifteen ranks are placed on either side of the Resurrection Window in the rear Gallery. The main console of the instrument can be placed in one of three locations in the Chancel and has four manuals, a pedal board and over 100 stops controlling both Chancel and Gallery instruments. For organ concerts, the Chancel console is brought forward and turned so that the artist may be observed "in action." The Gallery Organ has its own smaller console located in the balcony.

The furniture division of Casavant provided the beautiful oak casework which surrounds the pipes at the front of the church matching the existing woodwork. A striking feature of the organ is the horizontal Trompette en chamade located in the center of the façade.

The organ was formally dedicated in concert by project consultant Dr. Frederick Swann of the Riverside Church, New York City, in May 1983 and rededicated by HPPC organist Michael Shake in May 2010. The Chancel Organ is dedicated to the Glory of God in memory of John Edward May, David Edward May, Karla Emily May, and Richard Owen Snyder by Stephanie Ambrose May and Valerie May Snyder. The Gallery Organ is dedicated to the Glory of God in memory of Mrs. Willie Hopkins Kidd by her son, Dr. Frank H. Kidd, Jr.

Sanctuary Organ Specifications


Wynne Chapel is much beloved by the Highland Park Presbyterian Church family.

Two concerns made the search for an organ builder a cautious one. First, the specialized musical requirements for the Chapel services called for an instrument with a wide ranging palette of tonal colors and at the same time, capable of sublime subtleties. Put plainly, loudness or harshness could not be tolerated in this intimate setting. Second, the organ case and display pipes had to fit naturally into the refined elegance of the Chapel fabric.

The Wynne Chapel organ, built by Schoenstein & Co. of San Francisco, is at once anchored in tradition and daringly innovative. The overriding objective was expressiveness - in tone color, in dynamics, and in providing the organist with total command over his musical resources. The feature which most departs from present-day organ building practice is the wide dynamic range from a whisper of tone - almost inaudible - to the thrilling crescendo of full organ. The objective was to traverse this entire range with absolute smoothness.

As is the tradition in America, this instrument draws freely on English and European organ building traditions which have been studied carefully by Schoenstein. For example, voices in the French tradition include the Harmonic Flutes, Cor de Nuit, Gamba and the French Oboe. Voices of English origin include the Diapason, Gemshorn, English Oboe, Trumpet, and Tuba.

On this organ, there are several special tonal qualities not found on typical church organs. Of special importance for Wynne Chapel was the ability to produce ethereal effects. Five undulating "celeste" stops (10 ranks) as well as a variety of delicate flute tones contribute to this quality. (There are six different flutes at 8' and 4' pitches.) A rather unusual feature of the Swell is the inclusion of two 2-2/3' tones — one of principal quality, and one of flute quality. The 1-3/5' tone which complements these is of such light character that it can blend with either. Although not immediately obvious from the written specification, this instrument has an abundance of 8' Principal tone. The Choir Diapason is a small scale, slotted Principal; the Swell Gamba is large, similar to a Montre on a small French organ; and the Salicional is quite reminiscent of a Geigen Principal.

Dedication events for the new Chapel organ included recitals by Thomas Murray and Davis Wortman, a performance of Marurice Duruflé’s Requiem, and a commissioned hymn by Jane Marshall. The Schoenstein Organ is a memorial gift from the estate of Murray S. Johnson.

Wynne Chapel Organ Specifications

© Highland Park Presbyterian Church.
Memphis Web Design by Speak.